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Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 4/11/2011, 9:53 am

Outdoor plans be ready! We are going to have a few thousand extra and very noisy guests coming soon. The periodical cicadas are scheduled to make a return around some parts of the Midwest this spring. The 13-year cicada emergence will appear in the Midwest from Oklahoma to Iowa. The 17-year variety is expected across northern Illinois, and in parts of Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana.

Typically, the southern varieties run on 13 year cycles and the more northern varieties run on 17 year cycles. Periodical cicadas, for those that don't know, are different than annual cicadas. Periodical cicadas are the guys that show up in droves every 13 or 17 years, and depending on the brood, their regional spread can run across several states at a time. The annual cicada is the guy that shows up every summer....and most likely the guy that leaves his shell on the tree for our kids to pick off and attach to the neighbor girl's hair or shirt. (I laugh because I was that guy at about 10 years old.)

The periodical cicadas come in enormous numbers. Natural selection has timed their emergence to happen over a very short period of time to swamp birds and other predators with more food than they can possibly eat allowing most of the cicadas to breed undisturbed. Once hatched, the little guys just return to the safety of their burrows and eat roots until they mature and stage their next mass emergence.

Missouri witnessed it's last emergence in 1998, so 2011 is scheduled for another 13-year cicada event. This year's emergence is expected to cover most of the state, along with parts of Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, and Illinois. The noise will likely start tuning up in April, build to a crescendo in May, and taper off in June.

Mature trees should be fine. Cicadas also don't affect vegetable gardens. However, smaller trees may need a little protection from cheesecloth or mosquito netting.

1998 coincided with the simultaneous emergence of the 17-year variety, as well. The last time that had happened was 1777. Obviously, that scenario is rare, and this year won't be one of quite that volume. However, it will still likely be noisy in late spring here in the southwestern region of the Northern and Central Midwest. Be prepared by grabbing your earplugs.....or fishing poles.

Happy Gardening!

Last edited by BackyardBirdGardner on 4/11/2011, 10:01 am; edited 2 times in total


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Post  nancy on 4/11/2011, 9:58 am

A small part of me thinks they are so cool! We had our last batch in 2006 or 7, so we should be in the clear for a while.


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Post  Goosegirl on 4/11/2011, 10:59 am

The first time I went to NJ/NY I woke up every morning thinking 'Why in the world does everyone around here start mowing their lawns at 6:30 in the morning?' One morning I finally looked out the window and there was not a mower in sight, but that sound was soooooo loud. Later that day I saw a few of the noisy little (?) culprits! Amazing that insects can be so LOUD!



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Post  Glendale-gardener on 4/11/2011, 12:25 pm

I can't stand those little jerks! They were last in Cincinnati the spring that I got married(the 17 year emergence). Remember that they only feed on deciduous trees. Your evergreens are safe.


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